Civil Rights Timeline

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Timeline of the American Civil Rights Movement 1954 Brown v. Board of Education 1954 Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas In the 1950s, school segregation was widely accepted throughout the nation. In fact, it was required by law in most southern states. In 1952, the Supreme Court heard a number of school-segregation cases, including Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. It decided unanimously in 1954 that segregation was unconstitutional, overthrowing the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling that had set the "separate but equal" precedent. 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott Rosa Parks, a 43 year old black seamstress, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat near the front of a bus to a white man. The following night, fifty leaders of the Negro community met at Dexter ave. Baptist Church to discuss the issue. Among them was the young minister, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The leaders organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which would deprive the bus company of 65% of its income, and cost Dr. King a $500 fine or 386 days in jail. He paid the fine, and eight months later, the Supreme Court decided, based on the school segregation cases, that bus segregation violated the constitution. 1957 Desegregation at Little Rock Little Rock Central High School was to begin the 1957 school year desegregated. On September 2, the night before the first day of school, Governor Faubus announced that he had ordered the Arkansas National Guard to monitor the school the next day. When a group of nine black students arrived at Central High on September 3, the were kept from entering by the National Guardsmen. On September 20, judge Davies granted an injunction against Governor Faubus and three days later the group of nine students returned to Central High School. Although the students were not physically injured, a mob of 1,000 townspeople prevented them from remaining at school. Finally, President Eisenhower ordered 1,000 paratroopers and 10,000 National Guardsmen to Little Rock, and on September 25, Central High School was desegregated. 1960 Sit-in Campaign After having been refused service at the lunch counter of a Woolworth's in Greensboro, North Carolina, Joseph McNeill, a Negro college student, returned the next day with three classmates to sit at the counter until they were served. They were not served. The four students returned to the lunch counter each day. When an article in the New York Times drew attention to the students' protest, they were joined by more students, both black and white, and students across the nation were inspired to launch similar protests. 1961 Freedom Rides In 1961, bus loads of people waged a cross-country campaign to try to end the segregation of bus terminals. The nonviolent protest, however, was brutally received at many stops along the way. 1962 Mississippi Riot University of Mississippi Riot President Kennedy ordered Federal Marshals to escort James Meredith, the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi, to campus. A riot broke out and before the National Guard could arrive to reinforce the marshals, two students were killed. 1963 Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama was one of the most severly segregated cities in the 1960s. Black men and women held sit-ins at lunch counters where they were refused service, and "kneel-ins" on church steps where they were denied entrance. Hundreds of demonstrators were fined and imprisoned. In 1963, Dr. King, the Reverend Abernathy and the Reverend Shuttlesworth lead a protest march in Birmingham. The protestors were met with policemen and dogs. The three ministers were arrested and taken to Southside Jail. March on Washington 1963 March on Washington Despite worries that few people would attend and that violence could erupt, A. Philip Randolpf and Bayard Rustin organized the historic event that would come to symbolize the civil rights movement. A reporter from theTimes wrote, "no one could ever remember an invading army quite as gentle as the two hundred thousand civil rights marchers who occupied Washington." 1965 Selma 1965 Bloody Sunday Outraged over the killing of a demonstrator by a state trooper in Marion, Alabama, the black community of Marion decided to hold a march. Martin Luther King agreed to lead the marchers on Sunday, March 7, from Selma to Montgomery, the state capital, where they would appeal directly to governor Wallace to stop police brutality and call attention to their struggle for suffrage. When Governor Wallace refused to allow the march, Dr. King went to Washington to speak with Presid

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